Rose Penhasi jumped onto Sales Operations Demystified to share her knowledge and experience in Sales Operations.
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Interviewer: Hello, and welcome to another a very special episode with Sales Ops Demystified. We’re joined by Rose Penhasi, who has over eight years of experience in sales operations and is now the founder and sales ops consultant at ScaleOps. Rose, welcome to the show.
Rose Penhasi: Hello, thank you. Thank you for interviewing.
Interviewer: First question, is always the super interesting one. Originally, back in the day I’ve seen you’ve had a number of different roles in sales ops at different companies, how did you first get introduced to this wonderful trade?
Rose: Yes. I would start with the beginning. I was always good with numbers. When I had to go study, I decided to study Business Administration specializing in accounting. I thought I’m going to be n accountant. Then when I started to look for jobs, I understood that it’s not for me in terms of culture, in terms of mindset, creativity, and everything. Still I didn’t want to give up. I decided to start a temporary job as a sales operations in bigger organization which that time was called Comverse. You might know Comverse?
Rose: This company was crazy in terms of technology company. I could basically compare it to Facebook or ways of today. This novel lasted four years and not three months as I expected in the beginning. I met most professional sales operations leaders and people with like 20 years of experience. People who basically build all companies’ structure and sales processes.
I was honored to be mentored by them and learn all from zero, starting with the basics things like knowing how to manage the database, inserting orders, change fields, audit, build customers, install base, and everything like that. As time passed, I learned more and more. I got the opportunity to work with different regions worldwide. North America, EMEA, APAC, Latin.
I started to understand the different cultures and way of work. I learned about maintain and create improved sales processes in the bigger organization. Basically, after four years of the greatest experience, I decided to move on and work more with the small startups. Have them to implement sales processes that I learned in Comverse. Nowadays I’m almost– Been two years since I started my company. Providing sale separation services and outsourcing to tech companies. Yes, this is like the full journey. [chuckles]
Interviewer: What would you say when go in consult now? What would you say is the best in class tech stack that you would recommend?
Rose: Basically, I’m a HubSpot partner, so I mainly work with HubSpot, but I will explain. I used to work with many different software like Salesforce, Oracle, Dynamics and more. In my own company we work mainly with HubSpot and manage ourselves. As a sales separation service we provide services with HubSpot, Salesforce, Pipedrive and more software, but I usually like the HubSpot methodology. Use the HubSpot methodology in my business, and yes, just implement it in other companies too.
Interviewer: Cool, so you don’t just implement HubSpot, you do work with other CRMs as well, but that’s your preferred.
Rose: Yes, that’s my preferred.
Interviewer: Got it. Are there other tools that you also prefer?
Rose: Like a sales tools or?
Interviewer: Yes, related to the sales process. Whether that’s like the outbound outreach and Salesforce or like data forecasting tools like Clari or even Ebsta?
Rose: Yes, basically there are few things. If I think about it, there’s a great company which was invented in Israel called the Lucia. Doesn’t know if you know this company but they basically can find some basic information regarding contacts from LinkedIn. It’s basically a plugin who sits on LinkedIn and you just click on it and you find out the email address and phone number, which is pretty amazing.
I used in it like a few times and I also saw many companies that are using. There are also like some other BI software that I use a lot. Like Power BI and Tableau in Salesforce, which I also very like. The marketing automation of course which comes with HubSpot and it’s basically the main thing in HubSpot the marketing automation. That is also very cool and aligning marketing to sales that’s the thing now. Just like we cannot avoid it.
Interviewer: Do you also have a background in marketing? If yes, does that help you work with your clients and try and gel these two together?
Rose: Basically I partnered up with a platinum partner of HubSpot, which is a marketing agency. I think we provide the biggest value to our customers when we come together as a sales and marketing consultants. The thing is that I don’t have many experience like I was employed as a sales operations always. I don’t have a lot of experience in marketing, but the last one or two years I was exposed to a lot of it. Yes, I think in companies now if you don’t align these teams you’re in a big trouble. [chuckles]
Interviewer: Do you have any tips that you’ve in actual clients where you’ve managed to bring these teams closer together, like what have you done and what worth been working and what hasn’t?
Rose: Basically, we are starting to build those packages now. We did some. We used some [unintelligible 00:07:13] methodologies in order to bring them together. We made some events, we explained, we did some workshops. We brought the marketing and sales team together. They will be in the meeting once in a week basically.
Also, some important thing to do is also to make an SLA between the sales and the marketing and understand both teams that they’re going to have the same goal. Like always marketing has this goal to bring MQLs and sales has this goal to bring more sales, but the goal is to increase revenue and that’s the same goal, and that’s what you need to learn and understand being in those companies.
Interviewer: Got it. Moving on to working with salespeople now. Historically, how have you been able to get salespeople to do stuff that might not be directly related to them getting more commission?
Rose: I believe in processes mainly and explaining them that they process and CRM should help them to bring more sales, to be more productive and to scale up. It’s only about the process. What I’m doing is giving a lot of trainings. Basically, I can tell about Israel, but we are culturally very messy. Sometimes, like the CRM doesn’t work so good, and that data is not so accurate and everything, we try to create more automated process for the salespeople and improve their data in order to help them to scale and grow.
Interviewer: Got it. In automatic stuff, that they’re doing in their everyday workflow, so that they don’t have to remember to add the data into the Salesforce? Good.
Interviewer: Cool. Then moving on to onboarding salespeople, is there some best practices or things you advise clients to do to reduce the ramp time once salespeople join?
Rose: To onboard salespeople. I can tell that salespeople are very different from each other. They work very differently, update, and think different kinds of selling methods, but they have a common goal, bring sales and increase revenues to get more commissions, as we said. That’s what everyone wishes to basically get.
As a sales operations, I try to motivate them and make them understand little bit that the CRM or any process they have is here to grow and increase sales. Sales teams also tend to be very much busy. We keep following up with them. We send screenshots, we send guides, we send some videos that we make, we will try to ask about their challenges and everything.
Sometimes also, we refer them to different guides like HubSpot Academy, get their feedback and try to improve the next onboarding to help them bring their better results or customize their sales processes.
Interviewer: Got it. These are the list of things that you do to help salespeople get up to speed faster?
Interviewer: Cool. Is there anything that you’ve been doing with clients or in your old businesses to make sales reps more productive?
Rose: Yes. We are training them to be more productive. Basically, there are a bunch of videos and podcasts which help people and learn them how to be more productive in their work. I always tend to send those to the salespeople, if they needed or if they asked for it. In Israel, basically, we have a famous group that called the Super tours and they are all about automating stuff, automating everything.
Automating your life. [chuckles] Using less human touch as possible in terms of not spending hours and hours on tasks which can be made automatically. I always refer them to this group and people are becoming more and more sophisticated about it and look for more ways to have more free time on the week.
I also like to just recommend them on some tools that can help them. Sometimes it can be Zapier, sometimes it can be Mixmax for the Gmail, sometimes it can be Calendly for the meetings or the HubSpot tool for the meeting. Trello just to see how they proceed with their projects and everything. Yes, basically, we use a lot of it.
Interviewer: Cool. Essentially, ensuring that all of the reps have the right tools to eliminate manual stuff they’re doing.
Rose: Yes, exactly.
Interviewer: If we go back to when you were last in an organization running sale-ops, what was the sales forecasting process? Was that your job as a sales operations person or was that the responsibility of the sales manager?
Rose: Can you repeat it again, please?
Interviewer: In the last business where you were running sales operations, did you do the sales forecasting?
Rose: Yes, so, we did the sales forecasting and we still consult the companies how to do and how to build their sales forecasting process. Basically, I think it’s challenging to choose how to do the sales forecasting process, so there are several steps about how to do it, but every company will experience it differently.
For the sales operations inside the company, it’s super important to keep tracking with the salesman on a weekly basis and change the forecast amounts for abilities as required as in everything. Building a strong sales forecasting helps to grow the company and that takes strategic decisions as well. The steps I would recommend to start as basics in a company would be, the first one would be start to build the customized pipeline stages like probably five or six steps in a B2B company.
For example, the first stage can be something like discovery appointment schedule, the second can be engagement or budget qualified, a third can be a demo of the products of the company, and then after the demo, and when, if the product is accepted, you go to the commercial part and do the negotiation and when to fill. All those stages should be also defined as probabilities. We always recommend to try give the probability to each stage, 10%, 20% till you get 100%, which is closed 1% or 0% when it’s closed plus.
We simply multiply the percentage with the deal opportunity amount, and then we get the forecast, but there is more sophisticated, let’s say methods how to do the forecasting. We would also recommend to choose something like forecast category or lead source, let’s say we define it from A to C or best-case, worst-case scenario, and everything. It’s a little different method, but you can use it on top of the one that I explained before. The probability calculation that I explained before is not enough.
This method helps companies to be more accurate with their forecasting. For example, once you say A, it means that the sales is going to be an order by the end of the quarter, but if you say C or F in the second example, there is no chance that you will bring the order by the end of the quarter. The close date will be aligned to the next one or two quarters in the case of C, for example.
We use basically questions to ask the salesman on a weekly basis how does he proceed with the PO or the order? When was the last time he spoke with the customer and how did it go? What is the customer process till he gets the PO? Are there few decision-makers will need to sign the contract or how long he will estimate it? They’re like bunch of questions that we can ask the sales in order to get more questions and understand the probability and the forecast category.
Interviewer: Got it. As well as having appropriately assigned to stage in the pipeline, you’re saying there’s also other criteria you can add which is A, C and F?
Rose: Yes, A, B, C, D, E, F, yes. There are some companies that would define it A, B, C, there are some companies that would want to have more so A, B, C, D, E, F or less, but it’s just like the methodology.
Interviewer: Got it. That’s taking the property away from the pipeline stages. You’re separating those two metrics. Is that right?
Rose: Yes. Exactly.
Interviewer: Yes. That’s a bit more complicated than just assigning probability in terms of pipeline stages.
Rose: Exactly. It’s just a little bit more complicated, but as a result, you need to see an accurate forecast, so that’s the goal.
Interviewer: Got it. From all of your experience in sales operations, which do you think has been the most insightful sales metric that you’ve ever tracked?
Rose: As a salesman or as a sales operations that was trained like trained me?
Interviewer: Either, whichever and in sales operation, as a sales operations person, what metric do you like the most?
Rose: Metric dude. What do you mean when saying metrics? Sorry, I didn’t like.
Interviewer: One metric could be win rate. Each rep in the last quarter could have a win rate or close rate between 20% and 50%, right?
Interviewer: An example of metric is close rate.
Rose: Yes. This is a good question. I think that probability and stages will be like the best metric, but also those metrics that I just talked about, the A, B, C, the forecast category, or the lead scoring that HubSpot does would be super important to use because, by the end of the quarter, you would know how to measure and what you will get only according to this metric, only according to the sales.
Interviewer: Yes. Combining the stage of then and the probability, that’s how [unintelligible 00:20:05] sales is measured. Cool.
Rose: Exactly. Also, the close date can be super important and the amounts because you’re like, not just by the end of the quarter, but you would need to sometimes focus on the biggest amounts of the deals and less on the smaller amount. It combines.
Interviewer: Got it. Awesome. Who have you mentioned? Actually, in your first role, you had these great mentors, but who has been the most inspirational sales ops leader for you?
Rose: Yes. Basically, she was my manager. She was managing me for more than four years in Comverse. I think she really taught us everything from zero, like we had a team.
Also, my colleagues, my team supported that. She called Maya by the way.
Interviewer: Maya, shout out to Maya.
Rose: Yes, Maya. [chuckles] Maya was both a great manager, mentor, and a team strong person which I really liked. Since then I can tell that we keep in touch. We have a great relationship now. We always get each other advice for work and everything and try to brainstorm together. She works now in a different tech startup after she was more than a decade in Comverse establishing those crazy processes that we had there. She’s a real ninja person, I got inspired from her every day.
Interviewer: Shout out to Maya.
Interviewer: Rose, thanks so much. I’m hearing the things I like [unintelligible 00:21:49] I thought were particularly insightful. To have a understanding that sales and marketing, the goals of both are the same, but then having SLAs for each of them, I think with me said have an agreement together, they also aligned because they know they actually tried to do the same thing, I thought that’s really good.
Interviewer: Yes, his focus. When working salespeople explained that everything they have like the processor here is all designed to help them make more sales because I think by default salespeople think that actually that’s not the case. The final thing about separating the pipeline from the probability, because a lot of people have the pipeline aligned, probably if anything that’s interesting.
Interviewer: That’s the most to separate it. Rose, thanks so much for your time and thank you so much for coming and sharing your wisdom.
Rose: [chuckles] Thank you for inviting me.
Interviewer: All right.
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